The History of Rastafarianism
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Are you a fan of reggae music and want to know more about the Rasta movement? Are you wondering what the history of Rastafari is? How did the Rastafari wave spread so much?
As major proponents of this movement, we know exactly how to remove this veil of darkness and give you all the answers to your questions.
The history of rastafarianism began with a social movement in Jamaica whose members expressed a desire for freedom, but most of all for equality among all people. From this small Caribbean island to Ethiopia, this Rastafarian ideology has taken the world by storm, despite a turbulent past that the black peoplesof Africa and every Rastafarian, regardless of origin, remember and honor.
Through this article you will discover :
- The historical roots of Rastafarianism
- What forged and shaped the Rastafarian philosophy of life
- The spread of the Rastafarian movement around the world
- What it means to be a follower of the Rastafarian movement today
The past of this fascinating ideology will hold no secrets for you. You will have no trouble sharing the history of Rastafarianism with anyone, thanks to the new knowledge that will earn you the rank of "expert in the Rastafarian world."
It's time for you to find out.
1- The origins of the Rasta Movement
First, we will look at the foundations of Rastafarianism and the main events that made it very quickly become a popular movement on the other side of the Atlantic.
From a glimmer of hope for oppressed people to a real social and political commitment, and finally to the crowning of a real messiah, discover the roots of this Rasta religion.
a) A real hope for freedom
The Rastafari movement originated among young blacks in Jamaica in the 1930s. It is important to remember that being black in the early 20th century was anything but easy. True, slavery had been abolished, but many black people lived in poverty. They were exploited and suffered from racism.
As a result, many of them gradually came to believe that Ethiopia was the only place where they could find peace and freedom.
Why Ethiopia? Because they believed in a reinterpretation of the Bible that made Africa and Ethiopia the cradle of humanity. Moreover, Ethiopia was one of the few African countries that managed to resist European colonization at the time.
It is a symbol of resistance and independence, and gives confidence and hope to black people around the world.
b) A Pan-African ideology is born
This is where Marcus Garvey comes in. This speaker and journalist shares the view that returning to Ethiopia is the only way out of poverty for black people.
With a global influence at the beginning of the 20th century, imagine the effect his 1924 speech had when he adopted the words of the Reverend James Morris Webb: "Look to Africa, where a black king must be crowned, for the day of liberation." These words sounded like the gospel and there was eager anticipation for this black king to be literally as the messiah!"
When Ras Tafarí Makonnen (Tafarí: the Dreaded One), better known as Haile Selassie (Power of the Trinity), became emperor of Ethiopia, he was considered to be the reincarnation of Christ.
c) Ras Tafarí Makonnen
Ras Tafarí is a true embodiment of black hope. When he was crowned in 1930 it was under the name His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie: King of kings, Lord of lords, conquering Lion from the tribe of Judah, Light of the world, chosen by God. No less was expected of the messiah.
It is because of his name that the Lion of Judah was chosen as Rasta symbol. Learn more about Rasta symbols.
With his coronation, a prophecy is fulfilled: not only is he a black king as Marcus Garvey had predicted, but Haile Selassie would be the 225th descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, very important in the Bible. He was worshipped by the early Rastas as the son of God or even God himself.
The irony is that Marcus Garvey was not a Rasta, but many considered him a deity, a prophet.
It is natural, then, that the Rastafari movement bears the name of the Emperor, their long-awaited savior, and that with him comes the hope of the fulfillment of these famous prophecies with, in time, a better life, an ideal and a return to Ethiopia.
2- The Rasta Message And Its Expansion
The Rasta soon became known for its own identity. According to an interpretation of the Bible, he let his hair grow into dreadlocks and smoked ganja to get in touch with the divine, with God. Raised on the principles of respect for others and for life, the Rasta loves his fellow man and nature.
Throughout time, the goal of Rasta remains the same:
- To resist the bullies
- To free ourselves from this society - Babylon - that leaves many behind
- To fight for the freedom of everyone
- To revalue the human being, the oppressed
- To assert their rights
- Respect for nature
At the end of the 1960s, the style of music that was so popular with the Rastas finally appeared: reggae! Reggae is a mixture of ska, dancehall, rocksteady and traditional Jamaican music. It is to this style that the inevitable Bob Marley sings his music and spread his Rasta message from the early 1970s.
It became a worldwide success: Bob Marley became the most famous Rasta in the world and the legend was born.
He drew attention to the message of the Rasta and with it to the oppressed in the world, to brotherhood and to love. Through him, the entire movement speaks, and all to a timeless genre of music that will become a must-have and be appreciated around the world.
Robert Nesta Marley's message is understood and resonates with everyone. Rastafarianism is no longer reserved for young black Jamaicans, but for all who share its fundamental values: for all who need courage, strength, hope and guidance.
3- Modern Rastafarians
It is finally time to see what this famous Rastafarian wave has become in our time. Religion for some, a spiritual movement for others, whatever devotion one may have to it, Rastafarianism is today an idea shared by millions of people who still want a free world and equality among all the wonderful civilizations of this world.
a) An identity style
Today, followers of the movement still adhere to the customs of its origins: the dreaded symbolism, the ganja as a sacred herb to connect with the divine, the Rasta colors on every piece of clothing as landmarks, and reggae as the preferred music genre.
More than a genuine desire to return to Ethiopia, the colors of the Rasta flag are today retained for their symbolic side of Mother Earth, of the struggle against Babylon and of the desire for the victory of Good over Evil, of the free people over Babylonian doctrine.
b) A deep thirst for freedom
For Rastas, the connection to God and the world is written in every person and if he listens to his heart, he will follow the right path.To be a real Rasta, is to carry the Rasta philosophy deep inside, to want to resist unjust systems, to love nature and to offer positive things around you.
Today, the Rasta message speaks for itself more than ever: the struggle against Babylon, aka capitalism, consumerism, governments, etc. We are talking about resistance, the struggle for the rights of all people, everywhere in the world. More than ever, the Rasta wants a planetary change, starting with his own freedom and independence.
4- Becoming a Rasta temple guard
You now understand that Rastafari is the story of the oppression of a people who were given hope again by the coronation of Ras Tafari and men like Bob Marley who passed on and popularized his messages.
By this article, you now know the foundations of the Rastafari movement, how it has spread around the world to this day, and what it means to be Rasta in today's world.
Your choice to learn about Rastafari's past is very noble on your part. It shows an open-mindedness and interest in the world in which you live, which puts you in the spotlight. It is because of this kind of individual will that the Rasta ideology is not about to die out.
The best way to keep the spiritual flame of the Rastafari alive is also to carry its symbolic signs and representations with you. If you browse through our various collections, including Rasta caps, you are sure to find the caps that best suit you as a new holder of the keys to the Rasta heritage.
Discover them now by clicking on the picture below: